Panhandlers Express Cautious Optimism Over New Program Aimed At Helping Them | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

WAMU 88.5 : News

Filed Under:

Panhandlers Express Cautious Optimism Over New Program Aimed At Helping Them

Play associated audio
Clarence panhandles at the intersection of Viers Mill Road and University Boulevard in Wheaton, Md.
WAMU/Elliott Francis
Clarence panhandles at the intersection of Viers Mill Road and University Boulevard in Wheaton, Md.

Text 'share' to 80077 to contribute $5 to the Community Foundation for Montgomery County a non-profit, non-government organization that will distribute the proceeds to grassroots efforts to help people in need.

As community leaders in Montgomery County roll out a new program to reduce the number of panhandlers, some of the folks who might benefit are expressing cautious optimism.

Clarence, who won't give his last name, panhandles on the corner of Veirs Mill Road and University Boulevard in Wheaton. It's been a daily effort for him ever since he lost his job as a laborer two years ago, and today is not a good day.

"Sometimes it's hard to get five or ten dollars," he says. "I'm having a hard time now."

Clarence, who appears older than his 55 years, is just one of hundreds of panhandlers the county is looking to remove from the streets with their new "Give a Hand Up, Not a Hand Out" initiative.

Instead of giving a quarter or dollar to a panhandler, the program asks residents to text the word "Share" in order to contribute $5 to a non-profit, non-governmental organization that reaches out to homeless panhandlers in the county.

He's encouraged, but for Clarence, action speaks louder than words.

"That's what they said, but sometimes that money goes to them and then it goes to wherever they want it to go. It could go into their pocket, so anything could happen. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn't," he says.

Kim Ball is the administrator for homeless services in Montgomery County says that the program will have a larger impact than the handout the motorist might give a panhandler on a daily basis.

"That quarter and that dollar does not provide a basic need. We have so many other services that we want to connect them to and we want to make sure that we get those basic needs met," she says.

Donations will be distributed by the Community Foundation of Montgomery County.

NPR

Lowly Worm Is Back! Richard Scarry Jr. Brings Dad's Manuscript To Life

The younger Scarry, also an illustrator, found a draft of Best Lowly Worm Book Ever! in his dad's Swiss chalet. He says all that was missing was the final art, "so that's what I did."
NPR

A Food Crisis Follows Africa's Ebola Crisis

Food shortages are emerging in the wake of West Africa's Ebola epidemic. Market shelves are bare and fields are neglected because traders can't move and social gatherings are discouraged.
NPR

Uber Greases The Wheel With Obama's Old Campaign Manager

Uber is hiring David Plouffe, the mastermind of Obama's 2008 campaign, to power its own political strategy. What can a tech-savvy political animal offer a ride-sharing service?
NPR

Native Stories From Alaska Give Gamers Something To Play With

The video game Never Alone draws on a traditional Inupiaq story and the actual experiences of native Alaskan elders, storytellers and youth.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.